Water meter installation deadline extended

Grand Forks City Council briefs from July 20 Committees of the Whole and Regular Meeting.

How They Voted July 20

Water meter input

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on July 20, Grand Forks City Council received a report from Dave Reid, manager of operations, regarding the input from the public on the water meters.

The city had asked the public to submit their opinions of the project.

There were 89 submissions received. Of those, 49 were for the program, while 35 were against. The other five did not comment directly about or present options about the water meter program.

Of the 49 for the water meter project, 43 have a utility account with the city; of the 35 against water meter project, 28 have a utility account with the city.

Water meter deadline extended

At its July 20 regular meeting in the evening, council passed the first three readings for an amendment to bylaw No. 1973 (water regulations) to allow an extension to the time line for residents to have until Dec. 31, 2015 to install water meters. Council advised that there would not be any fines for those who do not have their water meters in by July 31, 2015.

Mayor Frank Konrad recused himself from the discussion under recommendations from the city’s lawyers Young Anderson about being in a potential conflict of interest.

Lease transfer

Council voted to support the transfer of the lease of 7212 Riverside Drive (the Multi-Agency Accommodation Project building) to Boundary Extreme Weather Shelter (BETHS) and Whispers of Hope due to Habitat for Humanity Southeast B.C. requesting to withdraw from the lease.

Habitat was originally a partner in the MAAP project with BETHS and Whispers of Hope. Habitat had planned to build a ReStore location adjacent to the building with office space and three transitional housing units on the second floor. They chose to withdraw from the site after council delayed extending the lease from five years to 10.

Reports to council

In her report to council, Councillor Christine Thompson said she attended the Canada Day celebration in City Park along with councillors Hammett and Butler. On July 8, Thompson along with Mayor Konrad and other councillors met with MLA Linda Larsen as she presented the city with a grant cheque for $330,000 from the Building Canada Fund and Small Communities Fund for a much-needed upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant.

Councillor Julia Butler reported that on July 6 she filed her paperwork with the Supreme Court in response to the city’s petition. She is still awaiting a court date.

On July 15, she attended a strategic planning workshop held by council.

Mayor Konrad wrote that on July 14 he attended the Highway 3 coalition meeting. In attendance was Mike Lorimer from the Ministry of Transportation. Many topics were discussed including road improvements, signage, bicycle shoulders, and possible rebranding of the Crowsnest name.

Transition Housing Steering Committee

Council voted to adopt the terms of reference for the transition housing project steering committee (THPSC).

The terms of reference being recommended is developed similar to other ad-hoc steering committees with key elements including: the committee is established as a steering committee to advise and make recommendations to city council regarding the steps necessary to facilitate the development of transition housing in the community and on establishing conditions for a needs assessment study, which is a necessary pre-condition for a transition housing project, including associated services for homeless individuals; the committee along shall consult with senior government housing agencies in order to qualify for support and funding assistance, which will be necessary for the development of this project; Members of the committee may include a representative designated from: Whispers of Hope, BETHS, Habitat for Humanity, RCMP, Boundary Women’s Transition House; Interior Health; BFISS; Boundary Chamber of Commerce; Sunshine Valley Community Services; city council; and area D director.

James Donaldson bleachers

Council unanimously voted to revise the 2015 financial plan to include $2,890 in additional funding for the James Donaldson bleachers capital project to be funded from the current operating budget.

The bleachers were included in the 2015 capital plan to be repaired for $25,000; however, there were unexpected expenses. Staff requested the additional $2,890 for the capital project for the engineering costs required.

Habitat tax exemption

Council decided not to grant a request from Habitat for Humanity for a 2015 permissive tax exemption.

Rezoning request denied

Council voted to not proceed with rezoning property located at 832-64th Ave. from the current R-1 (single and two-family residential zone) to R-4 (rural residential).

CannaFest granted noise extension

Council approved a request from Chuck Varabioff of the upcoming CannaFest 2015 event to extend the noise control bylaw (No. 1963) to 12:30 a.m. on the two nights of the festival, Aug. 7 and 8.

Varabioff confirmed that decibel levels will remain under 90, which is keeping with typical outdoor music events in smaller communities.

Ticketing bylaw

Council gave the first three readings to an amendment bylaw No. 1957, the municipal ticketing and information bylaw. The amendment, schedule 12-A3, will allow the city to apply fines for sprinkling violations. This would allow for better control and enforcement of the bylaw with regard to watering restrictions.

The proposed fines for Stage 2 violations would be: $100 for first offence; $200 for second office; and $300 for third offence.

The motion was carried with no opposition recorded.

Financial plan amendment

Council gave final reading to financial plan amendment 2, which accounts for the City Hall fire expenditures and an increase in amortization.

For the City Hall fire, general operating expense and other sources revenue have been increased by $1,574,892. General fund amortization was also increased by $48,827.

Neither of these amendments requires a funding source as neither will affect municipal taxation, surplus or reserves.

The motion was carried unanimously.